Fire Sprinkler Information

Why are Fire Sprinklers Necessary in New Homes?

This $3 Million Home Did Not Have Fire Sprinklers
This house in Hinsdale had a fire of unknown origin on January 28, 2004. 22 Fire Departments assisted in extinguishing the fire. The 3 story house had several floor collapses and two firefighters were slightly injured extinguishing this fire. As a result of this, the house was considered a total loss and was completely torn down. If this house had a fire sprinkler system, damage would have been limited to a few thousand dollars.

Photos are courtesy of the Hinsdale Fire Department.
The home in Hinsdale that experienced a devastating fire
The badly burned roof of an expensive home in Hinsdale
The badly burned roof of an expensive home in Hinsdale
Fire damage from the inside of an expensive home in Hinsdale
A view of the badly burned roof
Fire damage to the walls
Sprinkler Video Demonstration
Following is a link to a fire sprinkler video that illustrates the affects of a home sprinkler system. The video features two rooms next to each other with similar furnishings. The room on the right has a fire sprinkler, the room on the left does not.

View the Fire Sprinkler Video (Requires Quicktime)

Myths and Facts About Automatic Fire Sprinklers
Automatic sprinkler systems have enjoyed an enviable record of protecting life and property for over 100 years. Yet, there are still common misunderstandings about the operation and effectiveness of automatic fire sprinkler systems.

Following is a list of popular myths about sprinkler systems along with the corresponding facts compiled by the American Fire Sprinkler Association.

Myth: "Water damage from a sprinkler system will be more extensive than fire damage."

Fact: Water damage from a home sprinkler system will be much less severe than the damage caused by water from fire-fighting hose lines or smoke and fire damage if the fire goes unabated. Quick response sprinklers release 8-24 gallons of water per minute compared to 50-125 gallons per minute released by a fire hose.

Myth: "When a fire occurs, every sprinkler head goes off."

Fact: Sprinkler heads are individually activated by fire. Residential fires are usually controlled with one sprinkler head. 90% of all fires are controlled with six or fewer heads and a study conducted in Australia and New Zealand covering 82 years of automatic sprinkler use found that 82% of the fires which occurred were controlled by two or fewer sprinklers.

Myth: "A smoke detector provides enough protection."

Fact: Smoke detectors save lives by providing a warning system but can do nothing to extinguish a growing fire or protect those physically unable to escape on their own, such as the elderly or small children. Too often, battery operated smoke detectors fail to function because the batteries are dead or have been removed. As the percent of homes in America that were "protected" with smoke detectors increased from zero to more than 70%, the number of fire deaths in homes did not significantly decrease.

Myth: "Sprinklers are designed to protect property, but are not effective for life safety."

Fact: Sprinklers provide a high level of life safety. Statistics demonstrate that there has never been any multiple loss of life in a fully sprinkled building. Property losses are 85% less in residences with fire sprinklers compared to those without sprinklers. The combination of automatic sprinklers and early warning systems in all buildings and residences could reduce overall injuries, loss of life, and property damage by at least 50%.